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2 May 2008

Covering the coverage

Our Best of the Politics blog blogger Paul Evans looks at the way the web affected coverage of the l

By Paul Evans

Labour pains

Cliches about the Beatles and miniskirts were being wheeled out, as Labour suffered its worst hammering at the polls since the 1960s – slipping to third place nationally, on just 24% of the vote. The Tories surged to 44%, while the Lib Dems experienced neither great gains or losses. Some blogs, including Guido Fawkes decided to host Live Chats, while the BBC co-opted citizen journalists Iain Dale, Alix Mortimer and Luke Akehurst to join Emily Maitlis in blogging election night.

Labour activist Paul Burgin was frank in his analysis, writing: “Okay so we got a kicking last night. Big time.” Conservative councillor Neil Reddin saw parallels with the Tory nadir of the mid-nineties:

“The delusion that it was all mid-term blues, that every minor ministerial announcement might help to turn the tide. That losing hundred of council seats was a temporary blip and the opinion polls were telling it wrong again. Alas, the dark days for the party were the precursor to the drubbing we got in 1997.”

Left List supporting Lenin’s Tomb reflected upon the implications of a surge in support for the Conservatives:

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“While I don’t think people are moving sharply to the Right, the Tories are going to be the main beneficiaries of New Labour’s woes for as long as the alternatives are faceless Lib Dems, rightward-moving Greens, and some small radical parties. And the Tories will be much more aggressive on privatization and public sector pay, and may well try to force through strike bans.”

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Mayor Culpa

As Labour soaked up their defeats in council elections across the country, counting got under way on Friday morning to decide London’s new Mayor. Bravely, Conservative Home called the result first, declaring Boris Johnson to have won a full minute before the polls closed.

Meanwhile, Mick Fealty pondered the circumstances that could see Livingstone cling on to power:

“Ken’s best hope as the second runner is (as we suggested it might last September) the ‘wavering pencil’ syndrome. That and possibly second preferences from the Greens to take him home.”

James Graham took a look at the election day coverage of the city’s free sheet newspapers. He concludes that: “It’s quite clear that the Associated Press were trying their best to depress turnout. So full marks to thelondonpaper, which has easily had the best and most balanced coverage.”

What have we learned this week?

Good news for supporters of all political parties and none: Three Line Whip reports that former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie failed in his bid to secure a seat on Elmbridge Council.

Across the Pond

Chuck Norris may have attained cult status amongst British students, but over at Daily Kos they are less impressed. His suggestion that illegal immigrants should be gunned down earned him comparisons with the Nazis.

Video of the week

In 24 hours, will Ken know how this poor German felt?

Quote of the week

“I adore voting. It’s nothing to do with whether my candidate’s likely to win, nor even the fact that democracy is wonderful and all that. It’s just the experience of it.”

Tom Freeman gets excited about voting.